By: Laura Steiner
Here we are, 100 days into a Justin Trudeau mandate. The biggest changes have been transparency, and equality. Transparency has been an early hallmark. I get at least one email/ day from the Prime Minister’s office detailing his agenda and media availability. They’ve released ministerial mandate letters detailing what each Minister’s goals are. Equality is a big deal. In making a cabinet that is gender equal it sets the standard for Prime Ministers to come. It’s impossible to go back to the way it was done before. That’s the biggest change so far.
The main policy focus so far has been on resettling the 25, 000 Syrian Refugees promised during the election. It’s been turned into a national project. Canadians to our credit have stepped up with the trademark generosity associated with this country, and will end up being one of Trudeau’s big successes of this term. But while everyone’s focused on this policy a lot of other issues are going unnoticed.
One issue is the economy. Oil prices continue to drop, as does the dollar. The Conservatives have left anything from a $13 surplus to a $10 billion deficit. A $23 billion swing that puts Liberal economic policy in doubt. They have passed a middle-class tax cut which saves taxpayers money, and creates a new tax-bracket for those making over $200,000. However it’s not revenue neutral, and will cost the government $1.2 billion/ year. The promised infrastructure spending at $10 billion/ year may not happen. Falling oil prices have hit Alberta hard, and there are hints of a financial aid package for Alberta.
Foreign policy is proving to be another big weakness for the Trudeau Liberals. They’ve promised to take the jets from the fight with Syria, but have not committed to a timeline. How has this hurt Canada with its allies? And why can’t there be a complete mission of bombing, humanitarian and training? The initial commitment to the mission wasn’t made without discussion with Parliament, shouldn’t any changes go the same route? The focus on the environment, and climate change while noble isn’t realistic. Terrorism is a threat, and there needs to be an acknowledgement of it. You can’t run away from it.
It’s been a little over 100 days since Trudeau has been in office. He has had one major success in the refugee resettlement, and distinguished himself from predecessor through transparency. And now the real work begins.